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Industrial Court dismisses retiree’s Promotion claim against Head of Civil Service of the Federation for being academic

Hon. Justice Olufunke Anuwe of the Abuja Judicial Division of the National Industrial Court has dismissed the alleged appropriate promotion or allocations of notional date filed by one retiree, Babatunde Awoniran against the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission for being academic and lack of proof.

The Court held the issue of Awoniran’s promotion or allocation of notional date is now academic because he (Awoniran) can no longer lay claim to any promotion or proper placement which was not accorded him while in service, and he cannot derive or enjoy any benefit from the decision any longer.

Justice Anuwe expressed that instead of Awoniran to take an action in court at the time or when he was still in service to have the court make pronouncements and orders on his promotion or proper placement, he was rather patronizing the ICPC who clearly lacked the powers to interfere in how the Federal Civil Service Commission exercises its constitutional responsibilities.

From facts, the Claimant- Babatunde Awoniran had submitted that he retired from the Federal Civil Service on 30th January 2021 after having served for 35 years in service, and averred that the failure of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission to promote him to the proper grade level or to allocate appropriate notional date to him upon his reinstatement into service in June 2004 so as to put him in parity with his colleagues who were in the same grade level with him at the time of his alleged dismissal in 1999.

However, the defendants- Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission failed to defend the case despite service of the court’s process.

Mr. Awoniran submitted that in compliance with the letter from ICPC, the Head of the Civil service of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission only reviewed the aspect of the conditions on payment of arrears of salary but refused to restore his seniority, and he wrote several letters demanding his proper placement in line with the Civil Service Rules but to no avail.

In a well-considered judgment, the Presiding Judge, Justice Olufunke Anuwe held that Awoniran did not plead or mention the condition of service which applied to his employment while in service, and did not state anywhere in his pleading and evidence that he is entitled to be allocated appropriate notional date on the basis of any term of the condition of service which regulated his employment.

The Court stated that the issue of Awoniran’s claim on promotion or allocation of the notional date upon his reinstatement is an issue which he ought to have sought the court’s intervention when he was still in service.

Justice Anuwe held that since 2004 when he (Awoniran) was informed by the Federal Civil Service Commission in his reinstatement letter that he was not entitled to promotion during the period of his purported dismissal, he didn’t approach any court on the issue until he retired in 2021, that the issue of Awoniran’s promotion is no longer a live issue after he had retired from service.

The Court stated that the entitlement to, which Mr. Awoniran seeks to assert against the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Federal Civil Service Commission, must be based or founded on the terms and conditions of his employment.

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